I think there is quite a consensus between most of us for a lot of drivers.
I will start with the negatives, for a change:
- Hülkenberg: up to now he has not shown great qualifying, no excellent rain skills nor amazing passes. Instead mediocre qualifying and racing as well as a lot of damage. The car does not give much opportunities, but he is clearly on the backfoot next to Baricello.
- Buemi: OK mostly it was not his mistake that took him out, but as with Sutil in the past, he was there and was not able to avoid them.
- Baricello: Nobody expected him to win, nor be a regular points scorer with the car he has. But he did not show a very cool head in Monaco with the steering wheel and these clutch problems always kick in when he is feeling on the wrong foot. He is a great developer and his setup should be good, but we haven’t seen much of that.
- Liuzzi: I did not expect him to be a revalation, maybe his best time has passed already unused! He is way to far behind Sutil for a pretty experienced driver. The team will give him another few races, but only him picking up some points in the first races gives him some credit.
- Pedro de la Rosa: Hard to tell, maybe the Sauber is really a badly handling car, but Pedro has proven that he is not the best of racers with crashes when the car was not falling apart.
- Trulli: Regularly outqualified by his team mate and making stupid moves on track (had me change view of the Sutil crash last year). He had a lot of technical gremlins, but from his behaviour he looks like he lost hope of improving the package.
+/- Petrov: I did not expect much from him, but so far he is managing better than expected. His racing craft is pretty nice, as shown several times on track and he is not miles away from Kubica. On the other hand he is the rookie with the best car to drive and does make mistakes.
+/- Kobayashi: he is quick and a good racer, but does make rookie mistakes sometimes. Still i tend to go to a more positive here as he is showing promise and developing.
+/- Schumacher: Sure, he was 3 years away from competative driving and the Mercedes was not much suited to his driving style. But for a 3 times champ coming back to the titel winning outfit that can hardly be enough. Clearly Schumi took a long time to get back into it and only picking up now. His improvement over the last 2 races and his cheeky move in Monaco show there is still a lot in his driving, so all hope is not lost
+/- Massa: He is showing that he did not lose it after his crash last year, and he is pretty close to Alonso at times, although his reliably picking up points is good for Ferrari at this point, it can hardly be what he expected of it.
+/- Alonso: A lot of respect for him admitting to going on to learn from 2007 as well as some brilliant driving and solid team effort, blocking for Massa in Australia. But he is making a lot of mistakes from being under pressure to make it WDC in the first year with a not up to spec car. I do like his driving, but he needs some good results and weekend without mistakes.
+/- Rosberg: he looks like making it into a race winner. His driving has often been very impressive this year without the mistakes often made at Williams. But he is losing momentum after Schumacher got the new chassis and the car was updated and has to get it back quickly
+/- Vettel: He has been amazingly quick in qualifying and still has the gift to get a lap out of nowhere. But those mechanical defects and driver errors show his weaknesses and Mark being a real competitor is getting at him. Boo for his behaviour after Turkey.
+/- Glock: at times he was quick this year, but not impressive. The car was part of that, so i will give him a chance to show something. His move on Schumacher in Australia shows there is a racer in there.
+/- Lucas Di Grassi: a nice guy, but his car has not really enabled him to show anything so far.
+/- Bruno Senna: the name brings huge expectation with it. So far he has not made any rookie mistakes, but that is about all to be said as driving the HRT car around out there is at least as hard as it was at Minardy before they had power sterring and a quick shift gearbox.
+/- Chandhok: So far he is doing pretty good, when taking in account he got into an F1 car first time in qualifying at Bahrain. When the car does not break or hit by a flying Trulli, he has a knack for getting the car pretty far in the races, so he might be the first of the new team guys getting a (very) lucky point, and he seems a really nice guy. But nothing special so far.
+ Hamilton: he is relying on the team too much for now and seems a little bit taken aback by not clearly beating Button. But he is getting into it the last 3 races and his move to take back position in Turkey was very nice. So thumbs up for him so far and let’s hope he goes on overtaking like in Melbourne or China.
+ Alguersuari: this guy actually looks like he might get close to Vettel in the future. He probably does not have the outright pace, but seems to have good race craft to compensate and makes an exiting driver to follow. Only mistakes were in Spain where he should not have cut into Chandhok.
+ Heikki Kovalainen: he is making up for the disapointments at McLaren now. If any of the new teams can battle for Q2 or points on track without an enormous dose of attrition and luck i expect it to be him. Great fighting spirit and clearly enjoying the ride!
+ Button: Yes, i also expected Lewis to beat him, at least in the first races. He has shown that being Champ has given him the self confidence to grow as a driver and good calls at the right time have brought him the rewards. This guy is really among the greats and has a fair shot at making it back to back titles.
+ Kubica: He has shown what he can do with a reasonable car and the team behind it to improve the car. If he goes on like this a race win might be in it this year, and a championship challenge maybe next year.
+ Webber: what would he have done last year, without the accident in the winter? He might have been championship leader a year ago. Now keep up the momentum, show that Dr. Marko to keep his mouth shut and Seb to learn overtaking before having a try at you.